Careful planning and active communication are important tools in effectively managing personal finances, particularly if you are struggling to make payments on your current debt obligations or are being contacted by a debt collector.
Having trouble making payments on an existing debt? Contact the creditor to discuss alternative payment arrangements. It won’t eliminate your debt, but it can make things more manageable. Communication is particularly important if you are behind in payments to a creditor (e.g., credit card, loan, mortgage, medical) as it may help avoid a derogatory mark (e.g., a late payment) appearing on credit reports.
In the event you hear from a debt collector, avoiding a letter or call won’t make the debt go away. The reason for the contact cannot be resolved without the ability to communicate; whether it’s to pay an owed debt, verify an alleged debt or confirm that the debt collector has reached the wrong person.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and state debt collection laws protect the rights of consumers in a variety of ways, including placing certain restrictions on a debt collector’s ability to contact consumers by telephone. A debt collector may not place calls to consumers with excessive frequency or at times or places that are known or should be known to be inconvenient.
The following information is a discussion of consumer rights in relation to debt collection calls under the FDCPA. Many state laws simply mirror the FDCPA, however, some state laws offer additional protections for consumers. Therefore, you should also look at your own state’s laws to determine when, where and how many times a collector may contact you.
Doctor Debt was created by the members of ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, reflecting the desire ACA International members have to treat each consumer with dignity and respect, along with offering solutions that benefit both the consumer and the creditor who is owed money on a past-due bill.
Why would an organization made up of credit and debt collection professionals want to help consumers? Simple—educated consumers who understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to the credit and debt collection process are far easier to work with than those who do not. In addition, dealing with debt and credit issues can be an emotional and sometimes intimidating process. It doesn’t need to be. If you know your rights, fully understand the situation you’re in and what options are available, you can avoid unnecessary stress while making the best decision for you and your family’s financial well-being.
To all our users, thank you for visiting the Dr. Debt website. We are in the process of building a bigger, more comprehensive website with information on a wide range of topics relevant to the credit and collections industry. We are confident you will find the new site we build to be an incredibly valuable resource. Please check back often as we continue to update the content.
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Last Updated February 24, 2015
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